22nd Feb2018

‘Rivers of London: Cry Fox #4′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Andrew Cartmel, Ban Aaronovitch | Art by Lee Sullivan | Published by Titan Comics

Rivers_of_London_Cry_Fox_4_Cover-A

To all good arcs an end must come, and the Cry Fox arc reaches its conclusion with this issue. It’s misdirected me a couple of times, which is a good way to keep us jaded readers on our toes, and has had its fingers in a few fairy tale and mythological pies. An abduction story became a relative in jeopardy story, became a ‘man is the most dangerous hunter’ story, and climaxed with the role of foxes in mythology. Not bad for a 20 odd page comic book. Not bad at all.

So, pretty much everyone except Peter and Inspector Nightingale have been kidnapped. Russian Anna, Peter’s niece/trainee wizard/ trainee badass Abigail, Peter’s Muslim ninja (kind of) colleague DS Guleed, and talking fox Danny Russell’s mate and pups. I think that’s everyone. Why? essentially all connected to a wealthy family and a certain Alaric, who likes to hunt humans for sport. Yep, the rich really aren’t like me or you. Throw in the epitome of the cunning fox, albeit one that dresses in clothes, stands upright, and talks, Reynard Fossman, who procures the victims, and you have a lovely setup. Help is on the horizon though as Peter and Inspector Nightingale now have a heads up on where this is all happening. But first…

Anna has been taken to a ransom drop-off to apparently be released, where she is swapped for a ransom of diamonds. The swap goes down, and Peter tracks the goon after he drives off. Hey, what’s Reynard doing lurking in the undergrowth? I’m sure that may come up again later….back to the estate, and Abigail and Guleed are waiting. Not for rescue, or release, but waiting to be let loose in the grounds and have a pack of hounds chase after them and hunt them down. They’ve had better mornings. Alaric and his weird family though have underestimated the resourcefulness of them both, and again that may come up again later.

Actually it comes up straight away, and not in the way you think. Their cunning plan was to remove their trackers with a filched tool, put them on a log and let the river take them, giving the impression of motion. Great plan. Unfortunately, the hunters had planted a tracker in the tool, and so were on to them straight away. A misdirection is only good if it, er, misdirects. Backed in to a corner, Guleed and Abigail are toast. Nothing short of a knight in shining armour riding in on a white horse to rescue them could save them now. Wait, what’s that? It’s Inspector Nightingale on a horse riding in to save them. Not a white horse, but it’ll do. No armour, just very powerful magic, but that’ll do as well. Peter helps mop up.

Well that was an awfully pat ending you may think. Actually, not so much. The real villain of this story, or opponent, was actually foxy Reynard. It was Reynard who had arranged the kidnapping of Anna, to get the diamonds ransom, and as payment for that he had procured the victims for the hunt. Peter has realised this and confronts him in the ironically named local boozer The Jolly Hunter’. Reynard though is no mug, in fact he is a cunning fox of course, and walks away scott free. Or at least he thinks he does. His card has now been well and truly marked by Peter, and that awfully pat ending is actually the beginning of something else.

As always, a nice finish to this arc. One storyline resolved, a few dangling plot threads left to be taken up in the future. The main plot did flatter to deceive a little, but not so much it didn’t end well. All the main characters had a share in the spotlight, with Peter once again a bit part player in his own book. A great ensemble cast is developing though. Excellent script and art, almost doesn’t need saying anymore.

This book has a unique look and feel all its own, and long may that continue.

**** 4/5

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